During a conversation with a director of Recruitment, about the candidate experience, I learned about the pioneer of the candidate experience Gerry Crispin and the foundation he helped create: Talent Board. The foundation publishes a valuable report every year (the bible in the title) containing a dizzying amount of data on candidate experience.

Let’s start with the character of Gerry Crispin, larger than life, always wearing a hat. He is seen by many as the initiator of the movement towards a better candidate experience in the United States. The former recruiter for Johnson&Johnson explained what motivated him to found the not-for-profit Talent Board in an interview with à Fistful of talent.

“I had been writing and speaking about recruiting from the eyes of the candidate since the 90s, fully expecting technology to support my notion that candidates are partners in the process. It wasn’t happening. Elaine Orler, CEO of Talent Function, called me in 2010 and said “maybe we’re going about it all wrong. Instead of beating up employers by outing their worst practices, maybe we should uncover those doing the best job, help tell their story, and measure the difference their approach makes to the individual, the function and the firm”.”

And so the Talent Board, as well as the CandE Awards were born in 2011.

After a few verifications, I understand that the foundation is well known to HR professionals. Still, it is certainly worth rediscovering today, at a time of particularly acute talent and labour shortages.

What do candidates want? This is THE question employers and recruiters are facing these days. And the 2020 report – marking the 10th anniversary of the organization’s creation – contains not one, not two, but a whole register of responses at all stages of recruitment, based on the testimony of 152,000 candidates from 133 companies in North America.

I’ll give you a few in bulk.


What candidates prefer as “brand content” on a Career page:

  • A multilingual website – 35%
  • Information on corporate culture– 32%
  • Answers on “why” people want to join the company – 32%
  • What candidates refer as “job-related” content on the Career page:
  • Job description – 66%
  • Detailed steps to apply – 50%
  • Available positions – 45%


Candidates have increasingly high technological expectations. There are two strategies related to the mobile phone that increase the rate of candidates reporting a positive experience at the end of the recruitment process:

  • Allow the candidate to launch the application process directly from a text message +32%
  • Text notification of next recruitment steps +35%

Tests and interviews

  • Conducting a “structured” interview increases the perception of being able to demonstrate skills by 5% and feeds the sense of a fair process by 8%

When testing and interviewing candidates, the communication channel should be open to two-way communication. Candidates answer all kinds of questions, but they are also eager to get feedback from recruiters.

  • Provide feedback on the job fit +15%
  • Give the candidate feedback on a test they had to do +20%

Hiring offer and onboarding

Actions that increase the rate of candidates reporting positive experience at the end of the recruitment process include:

  • An HR professional or direct manager who informs the candidate of the steps following the interview and who meets the advertised deadlines +51-52%
  • A direct manager who calls the candidate prior to starting the job +76%
  • Give the candidate a chance to communicate their goals, meet with co-workers and answer their questions before the start of the day +86%

Now that you know what the candidate wants, the ball is in your court.

Happy recruiting!

The North American Candidate Experience Research Report is available here.

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